Patriots announce Tony Fiammetta left the team

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Guard Robert Gallery wasn’t the only player to check out of Patriots camp on Saturday.

The team also announced that fullback Tony Fiammetta has been placed on the exempt/left squad list. The Patriots didn’t explain why Fiammetta, who was absent from several practices leading up to the roster move, left the squad.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports that Fiammetta left to take care of a family issue and that he will not return to the team this year. He hopes to return to the Patriots in 2013. He was far from a lock to make the Patriots, who don’t feature a fullback all that often and also have Spencer Larsen bidding for playing time at the position, this season, so it is difficult to imagine that a year off will help his chances of making the team.

The Patriots signed Fiammetta as a free agent in March after he spent time with the Cowboys and Panthers over the last two seasons. The Patriots also announced that they have signed veteran defensive back Derrick Martin and running back Kareem Huggins to take the roster spots vacated by Fiammetta and Gallery.